YY Duopai

YY revamped Duopai, an Android app for gameplay recording and sharing that was first launched in May, and officially relaunched it today. The iOS version will be available later.

Different from some other gameplay recording services, Duopai doesn’t require developers to embed an SDK into their mobile games. The app also enables recording gameplay in game sound and commentary at the same time. The next version will introduce a feature for gaming contest, said the company.

Circle is the social feature with Duopai. The app automatically gathers Duopai users who have installed the same game(s) in their phones in one circle. Apart from the videos uploaded by people who play the same game(s) with you, videos shared by players or gameplay commentators you have subscribed to will show up in your circle too.

Like in many places around the world, game broadcasting and sharing is increasingly popular in China. Live streaming of gameplays has been available on YY’s PC-based site for a long time. YY as the platform owner makes revenues through virtual item sales: users buy players or commentators virtual gifts, or subscribe to premium subscriptions. The company recorded RMB31.1 million (US$5.0 million) from gameplay streaming, a 243% year-over-year growth, in the second quarter of 2014.

Apart from revenue cuts from YY, some popular players or commentators are making big money by creating sideline products related to games.

So far YY and Douyu have the largest combined market share, which is estimatedly over 50%. Other players include imbaTV, MarsTV, PLU, and Aipai.

As it’s popular, there’s a business model for it and more recently Twich has been acquired by Amazon for US$970 million, gameplay broadcasting has attracted a lot of venture money. Douyu, one of popular gameplay sharing services in China, reportedly raised US$20 million in Series B from Sequoia Capital China; Aipai, a video sharing service with focus on gameplay sharing, announced US$38 million in Series C led by SAIF Partners last month; PLU reportedly raised RMB20 million (about US$3.2mn) in Series A from SAIF Partners; imbaTV reportedly has raised US$6 million from Innovation Works and Sequoia Capital China; MarsTV reportedly raised US$10 million several months ago.

China-based VCs or big Internet companies are also interested in similar Western services that have plans for Asia or China in particular, where gaming has been widely popular. Kamcord, a US-based startup, has raised two rounds of funding joined by a handful of Asian investors including Chinese gaming giant Tencent and Chinese venture capital firm Innovation Works.